Mike McFeely is a WDAY (970 AM) radio host and a columnist for The Forum. You can respond to Mike's columns by listening to AM-970 from 8:30-11 a.m. weekdays.
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Roger Ailes, the serial sexual harasser and hero to millions of conservatives, died last week. The former chief of Fox News was lauded with tears and salutations from the right and grumbling and middle fingers from the left, which pretty much describes everything that's wrong with America today. If we can't agree that Ailes getting Donald Trump elected Female Crotch Grabber in Chief is worthy of posthumous bipartisan awe, we have no chance of solving the health-care crisis.
FARGO—Change is coming, and rapidly so, in higher education. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sees his role as "sounding the alarm bell" for the state's colleges and universities so they are best positioned to deal with the future. That was one of the messages the governor stressed Friday, May 19, during an interview on my radio show on 970 WDAY. Burgum has talked often about higher education in recent weeks, sparking criticism from some (including me) as he minimized the importance of college campuses and referred to local campuses as state-subsidized job creation.
I was going to send the following words in an e-mail to my daughter’s theater director, speech coach and English teacher after the school year as way of saying “thank you” to Rebecca Meyer-Larson, an unstoppable dynamo of a woman at Moorhead High School. But after writing them, and reading them, I figured the world should know the impact this educator (and many educators) has on our young people. That is to say, large.
FARGO—Sanford Health has a fine audiology clinic in town, which makes the nonprofit's announcement this week of a private concert to celebrate the opening of its mega-hospital on Interstate 94 and Veterans Boulevard all the more baffling. A little hearing test would've been in order before the health care giant released the tidbit that music stars Fergie and Lionel Richie, as well as sports hero Carson Wentz, were coming to town to put on a show for Sanford employees and guests. It might have revealed just how tone-deaf the announcement was.
It's there in black and white. North Dakota Republicans lowering the oil extraction tax from 6.5 percent to 5 percent at the end of the 2015 legislative session has cost the state $235 million in revenue in the first 14 months since the new policy was implemented. Figures provided by the North Dakota tax commissioner's office, first reported in detail by the NDxPlains blog, show it. The exact figure is $235,530,746. That's an average of more than $16.8 million per month.
FARGO—Amateur Hour is over, thankfully. The angry mob behind recalling Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn has put away the pitchforks and torches, for now, having failed to accomplish anything other than being angry and making enemies everywhere. Oh, and they managed to turn Piepkorn into a sympathetic figure who likely stands a better chance at re-election next year than he did before the recall petition began. Other than that, though, it was a heck of an effort.
There is a county in North Dakota where life expectancy is equal to that of someone born in Iraq, Mongolia or Cambodia. Maybe that's not Third World by definition, but you can see it from there. There is a county in North Dakota where life expectancy lags nearly 12 years behind the state average. Where, if you're a man, you shouldn't expect to see your 65th birthday.
FARGO—It's time for Fargo city commissioner Dave Piepkorn to put up or shut up. Make public the numbers you have regarding the taxpayer cost of refugee resettlement (if any), reveal whatever personal research you've done on the subject (if any), cite your sources (if any), or zip it. It's reached that point.
FARGO—Drew Wrigley must really be bored working at Sanford Health. Or he must really want to be governor or attorney general. Or being the U.S. attorney for North Dakota is the greatest job he's ever had and he wants to do it again so badly he's willing to take a huge pay cut, uproot his family from Bismarck to Fargo, go through the meat-grinder of an FBI background check and a Senate confirmation to take a political appointment that could end in four years. Or something.
The boat that was left on the curb for Cleanup Week in north Moorhead has been taken. I drove by the house this morning on the way to work and it was gone. A Facebook post from Monday night said a couple of guys were loading up the boat to take it away. Here’s the post I wrote yesterday afternoon about the boat: